Pandemic: Spoiled Legacy
What a journey we have undertaken together. A full year’s worth of uncertainty, close calls, and other things I might have been able to talk about if this weren’t the pre-spoiler-warning header. Whatever else happens today, we’ll always have the adventures we lived in parts one, two, and three. Beyond that? Who knows.
AS ALWAYS, BE WARNED. HERE DWELL THE MOST ALL-ENCOMPASSSING, EVERYTHING-RUINING, SECRET-DEVOURING SPOILERS.
Bogota is burning. Riots in Osaka. Countless dead throughout Southeast Asia.
The military bases in Manila and Kolkata, once home to countless of our allies and a safe haven in times of danger, are rubble.
Afrojack has betrayed us. And now we are coming for her sponsors. The monsters who unleashed this eleventh plague upon the Earth.
Rocky. Stallone. Jackie Tan. Hootie Pants. With the team assembled, we have one more stop: Taipei. Ground Zero. Home of the first patient infected with C0dA. If we can recover this unfortunate soul, we might be able to engineer the solution to the disease. The key to unlocking the gates of hell themselves. The balm for the festering canker at mankind’s armpit. The formula for New Coke.
While Stallone splits his time between dropping off cardboard boxes filled with C4 at the front desk of paramilitary bases and busting up the Faded with copious quantities of grenades, the rest of the team rushes to combat the next wave of diseases. Every so often, a new lead on Patient Zero’s location pops up, and off the team goes back to Taipei. Our bosses back at the CDC in Atlanta have demanded that we deliver Patient Zero to them, but, uh, no thanks, evil overlords.
Fortunately, just as the infections are raging out of control, we manage to find Patient Zero. Turns out he’s a totally nice guy, just really hideous to look at after the way C0dA dissolved his skin and all that jazz. He complains a lot about being moved around too much, but after a healthy dose of painkillers, he’s all too happy to provide samples of his dermis, saliva, muscle, bone marrow, spinal fluid, and brain matter. The genetic sequence of C0dA is now ours. And with it, hopefully, the ability to manufacture a cure.
Turns out the jerks back at the CDC have figured out that we have a dude named Stallone exploding all their bases. They send us a menacing message over the radio, then straight to our personal email accounts, and by that very same evening they’re even texting us. And not only on our work phones. This has gone too far.
The thing about being a high-level multinational conspiracy is that you never see the little guy coming. And in this case, neither do we, because the little guy is Bird-in-Ground, a new team member who we will totally not have time to get to know. He’s an immunologist, which is a fancy way of saying that he sets up vaccine factories and is apparently the only guy who can effectively distribute the stuff. He explains the ingredients: thimerosil, mercury, paint fumes, asbestos, rhino horn. Seems a little unethical, and he assures us it will totally make everyone autistic, but at least their skin won’t fall off anymore. Oh, and it’ll stop the bad guys from building a new world order.
Briefly, we pause to ponder our opponent’s plan. To defeat your enemy, you must know your enemy, says Sun Tzu. Most of us pontificate on the fact that this plan makes no sense whatsoever. So they’re going to take over the world by turning everyone into sorta-zombies? Seems unsophisticated. We nosh on some snacks, most of them provided by Dr. Quinn, who hasn’t been on a mission since January because she’s totally useless. Someone proposes a moment of silence for Afrojack, but Colonel Sanders points out that she isn’t dead. “Think she’ll show up again?” Neil Patrick Harris asks. “Nah,” the unnamed virologist replies.
Everything starts out swimmingly. We get our first vaccine factory up and running in Hong Kong, right in the middle of the action. Unfortunately, Bird-in-Ground ends up being attacked by Faded during his first attempt to inoculate the uninfected population. After some therapy, he becomes monophobic, unable to spend time searching unless someone accompanies him. We figure this doesn’t matter because we’ve already finished with our searches, and surely we won’t have to do any more searching to defeat the baddies (foreshadowing!).
Bird-in-Ground’s sacrifice is entirely worth it, as cities become totally safe once the vaccine has been distributed. Taipei, Jakarta, Bangkok — one by one, we push back the stinky unsightly tide of Faded. Sure, the recovered victims look like hell, but at least they can go about their normal lives, probably at some distance from polite society.
For a brief moment before we successfully wrap up work for the month, we’re so focused on treating all our global diseases, and so cocksure about the success of our vaccine, that we ignore a few Faded cities. Seoul gets in trouble, and riots break out in Khartoum. We keep waiting for the conspiracy to somehow fight back, but mostly they post catty messages on our Facebook walls. “WE WISH YOU WOULD GET HERE FESTER,” one of them says, showing a picture of an Olympic runner. Stallone finds it pretty funny.
At the conclusion of the month, we decide to keep some of the factories running in perpetuity. After all, there’s no way to know what December will bring.
Well, we should have seen that coming. Turns out we’re going to do the obvious thing: wipe out C0dA by quarantining all the Faded cities, and search Atlanta — poor Bird-in-Ground, terrible at searching — in order to destroy the final samples.
Luckily, November’s efforts have given us a great start, with approximately half of C0dA’s territory already vaccinated. Bird-in-Ground hops right to it, and with some help from our handy dispatcher, Jackie Tan, manages to have the whole thing taken care of in about a week. Searching the CDC takes a little longer, with Rocky and Hootie Pants bumbling comically about its corridors, but then Bird-in-Ground shows up to fix that problem too. Really, he’s just a swell guy. Suspiciously swell.
Then nothing happens. He just turns out to be really competent. Not a bad guy.
In the end, we wrap it up without too much trouble. It’s actually a little discouraging. Didn’t the conspiracy want to stop us? Didn’t they have anybody who could lift a gun? The CDC explodes and we’re all left to wonder if maybe this all went according to somebody else’s plans.
Cue credits. The orchestra swells.
Final score: 808/1000, just seven points above the limit for the highest level of accomplishment. We’re informed that C0dA is eradicated, Zodiac is destroyed (and here we didn’t even know the bad guys had a secret club name!), and the world recovers within a year. Which seems a little optimistic, but we’ll take it!